Capitol Police issue emergency declaration over People’s Convoy
US Capitol Police issued an emergency declaration on Sunday in response to the arrival of the ‘People’s Convoy’ of truckers in Washington, DC to protest Covid-19 mandates and restrictions. The declaration will reportedly allow authorities to receive assistance from the National Guard and pay the food and accommodation bills for officers to stay nearby.
According to Bloomberg, the Capitol Police Board expressed fears that the protesters could shut down roads and bridges in the US capital in a similar situation to what happened in Ottawa with the ‘Freedom Convoy’ last month.
In a memo, House Sergeant at Arms William Walker advised members of Congress and their staffers to consider using trains and other public transport while the convoy is present in DC. The memo also told them to consider the use of alternative routes if they do choose to drive.
Supporters of the convoy could be seen cheering and holding American flags as it arrived in Washington, DC on Sunday.
TRUCK CONVOY: Earlier today, the "People's Convoy" of truckers arrived at the Capitol Beltway. pic.twitter.com/3JcoaaYBdS— Forbes (@Forbes) March 7, 2022
The convoy did several loops around the Washington Beltway on Sunday – an act which took hours and caused traffic jams in the area – and have vowed to conduct more loops over the next week. According to reports, the convoy is estimated to span roughly 30 miles.
The Freedom Convoy in Ottawa last month was dispersed by force after the government gave authorities emergency powers to shut the protests down. Bank accounts associated with the protesters were frozen, while the organizers of the convoy were rounded up and arrested.
Supporters of the protests were also threatened with arrest for providing aid and resources to the truckers. Viral videos at the time showed Ottawa Police attacking and trampling protesters, including the elderly, which sparked public condemnation from politicians both within Canada and abroad.
The Freedom Convoy inspired several protests in other countries, including this week’s protest in Washington, DC.